CONTRADICTORY?

I have often been reproached (and reproached myself) for inconsistency. One day I think something, the next day the opposite seems to me to be true (this is an oversimplification but I'm sure readers know what I mean). It was therefore with the gratification of finding a soulmate that I saw cited these lines from Walt Whitman:

Do I contradict myself?
Very well then I contradict myself,
(I am large, I contain multitudes.)

A reassuring and realistic statement indeed (the quotation is from Whitman's Song of Myself as probably everybody but me knew). I don't know whether I contain multitudes, but I do see things from enough points of view that it is a relief to take a leaf out of Whitman's Leaves, so to speak, and not feel embarrassed when someone points out that something one has said doesn't square with what one said last week. Facts can lead to different conclusions depending on how you view them. They are like pieces of glass in a kaleidoscope. Rotate the kaleidoscope and you see things differently.

Neither is it only in the mind. Habits and practices can be at variance with one another in the same individual without insincerity. What may be interpreted as hypocrisy might really be complexity.

30 March 2012

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